When you go wild swimming you will broadly find three main methods for getting changed:
- The fast strip and go (for the less shy amongst us)
- The towel wrap, fumble, stagger, flash, panic….. (For the more shy amongst us)
- The “I’ve bought my own portable changing room” Dryrobe users (for the “well-to-do” wild swimmer)
It turns out that each of the above have several sub categories, but you aren’t here for that. I shall focus on the Dryrobe element. For those that don’t know Dryrobe is a brand and there are a number of product options that they provide, from the basic “hands free towel” to the “Towel Dryrobe” to the “Dryrobe Advance.” The first is pretty much a towel that properly fastens around your waste, giving you privacy from the waist down, the second is effectively a long hooded poncho made from towelling with ample room to get changed underneath and the third is the top of the range waterproof on the outside, synthetic lamb’s wool and polyester lined portable changing solution (my words, not Dryrobe’s.)
I received my Dryrobe Advance a couple of weeks ago from Simply Swim and I must admit that I had not considered how big it would be. It really needs a dedicated place to hang in the house. On opening it though the first thing that struck me though was the build quality, it simply oozes it and does not feel like it was built down to a price. Here you can see it modelled by my ten year old son.
I’m 6′ and the Dryrobe Advance fits me just fine, with plenty of room inside. If I’m changing on a slope or somewhere that people can walk below I do have to be a little mindful of bending over though! It really is toasty warm and is just the ticket when exiting from the water shivering and numb, sheltering you instantly from any inclement conditions. If it was a really cold day to be honest I would be inclined to use my old towelling Dryrobe for the initial dry and change, so that I could then climb into my Dryrobe Advance after and sit there warming up and looking exceptionally smug in my black and red cocoon. For those of you that are smaller look at the sizing carefully, but generally you want something like this to be big so that you have room under it and it is long enough to give you some discretion.
On my initial wear the Dryrobe Advance did not do a great job of drying me, much like a new towel really. It gets better with use though and I would recommend it to anyone that can afford it. Personally I don’t just use my Dryrobe Advance after swimming. I have often used it in car parks both before and after events and training sessions (cycling, running, swimming and triathlon) to give me somewhere warm and sheltered to get changed without showing anyone anything that they really didn’t want to see in the first place…..
Conclusion and Summary
- Warm and waterproof
- Versatile (quite often you see people in them just using them to stay warm and dry!)
- Well made
- Large when storing or taking it somewhere compared to a normal towel
Unlike other websites I have not listed the price as a con. It is an expensive product, but then it’s made well and the people that own them love them. It is also the top of the range Dryrobe product, so you would not expect it to be cheap. If you cannot afford it then there are other options for the more budget conscious. Mine will certainly be used often and I know that whenever I finish an event, and I stumble back to my car, that pulling my Dryrobe Advance on will be a moment to savour.
- Waterproof and Windproof Shell
- One piece body construction with no shoulder seams
- Really warm lining
- Full length reversible zip
- Fleece lined pockets (warm hands!!!)
- Large internal pocket for keeping your spare undies in
- Waterproof inside pocket for valuables
- It does actually compress down really well, so consider getting a compression sack for when travelling with it
- I have no idea what synthetic lamb’s wool is, but it’s definitely warm
- The Dryrobe itself is extremely nickable (attractive to thieves!), so I’m not sure what use having an internal pocket for your valuables is, but I appreciate the sentiment. I guess it can keep your phone/keys/money dry while you get changed.
- If in doubt then make sure you have a way of carrying your valuables while you swim, or bring a willing friend/relative to watch your stuff 🙂
If you want some more information then this is the link directly to where I got mine from which includes the full specs and information: Simply Swim